Lake Louise appeals $2M fine for cutting down endangered trees
World-renowned Lake Louise Ski Resort is appealing a $2.1 million fine for cutting down endangered trees in 2013.
The resort pleaded guilty to clearing 38 endangered whitebark pine trees along a ski run, but says the fine is too high.
In November 2018, the resort was sentenced and given a year to pay what amounts to roughly $55,000 per tree.
“We think an appropriate amount is five, six, seven thousand dollars a tree. That is more than a slap on the wrist,” said Duff Harper, the lawyer representing Lake Louise.
“$230,000, we think that’s appropriate.”
Harper said the total fine Lake Louise would have to pay for the case would be around $390,000, which would include the remediation costs to plant more trees.
Harper said Lake Louise has owned up to its mistakes and isn’t blaming anyone else.
In its appeal, Lake Louise argued the judge made several errors of law, and therefore the sentence should be modified, court heard.
Harper told the judge Lake Louise submitted a statement saying owners are sorry for what they did and there is corporate remorse.
The resort has taken steps to improve employee training to make sure other endangered trees are not removed in the future.
The Crown said the resort shouldn't have cut down trees that were healthy.
Whitebark pine trees grow at high elevations and are a source of food and shelter for animals like bears, squirrels and birds.
A decision on the appeal will come at a later date.